Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

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george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

In 1926/27 the Uganda Railway was replaced first by the Kenya and Uganda Railways in 1926 and then by the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours (KURH) Corporation in 1927, when the powers-that-be placed Mombasa Harbour into the same company as the railways.
The Corporation was actually the East African Railways and Harbours. It included the rail and harbours in Tanganyika. It was integrated by building the link between Kenya and Tanganyika from Voi to Moshi (dating from the first world war) and then from the Tanga-Moshi line to Dar es Salaam - I took the linking train more than once between Nairobi and Dar. I believe it is defunct now. There was also the train ferry from Kisumu to Mwanza - and possibly from Jinja - which linked rail freight between the systems of Kenya and Tanganyika. I think the break up of the EAR was the main loss when the East African Community broke up instead of becoming a true Federation as was intended by the British. One function of the ferries was to coordinate freight vehicles between the Tanganyika lines and the Kenya-Uganda lines. Peak freight traffic occurred at different times of year, so switching freight vehicles between the two systems was valuable. There was also some domestic trade between the two systems. I believe the rail ferries no longer run.

The Nairobi-Dar link functioned when carriages were added to the Nairobi-Mombasa train and detached at Voi. They were then taken along the link to Moshi where they waited several hours and were then attached to a train going to Dar es Salaam - with some carriages detached at Korogwe for Tanga. There were two nights of sleep on this journey. I travelled in both directions.

On one journey there was a track fault on the Moshi-Voi route. The eastbound and westbound trains were halted on either side of the fault. The passengers walked across the gap and swapped trains. On this occasion the westbound train arrived in Voi much too late to meet the train going to Nairobi. A locomotive was found to take the short train onwards. I remember that I saw some of the animals in the National Park, normally hidden at night. The train arrived in Nairobi in the afternoon instead of in the morning.

I would expect that the eastbound train arrived in Moshi in time to connect up with the train to Dar, avoiding the long period of waiting in Moshi station.

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

The Voi to Moshi line was built in a hurry by the military during the First World War. It was built to enable the British invasion of the German colony in Tanganyika. As it was a rushed job it was not well surveyed and did not follow the best physical route. It was not designed as a commercial route and ever after had many problems - too many gradients. Travel along it was slow. If it has been abandoned that is not a surprise. I hope connection between Kenya and Tanzania will in future be via a Standard Gauge route, possibly along the coast from Mombasa to Dar - to link up with a SG route in Tanzania to Lake Tanganyika, and perhaps to Mwanza.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Hi George

As I understand it, the KUR&H was formed in 1927 and remained in existence until 1948 when the EAR&H was formed. I am currently working on a post about the EAR&H tenure of the system, which as you rightly say was broaden to include the Tanganykan lines.

Best wishes

Roger

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

One of the small snippets of information I have encountered while writing the series of posts on the Uganda Railway and its successors is an almost passing comment made in a number of texts about the Kenya Uganda Railway Beyer-Garratts numbered 41-44, 51 and 53. These comments refer to these locomotives being sold to Indo-China.

Someone asked me whether there was any information about what happened to these locos in any of the main texts about the metre-gauge lines in East Africa. The only specific reference appears to relate to the locos going to the 'Yunnan Railway'.

It might be that others can shed more light on this, but I thought that it was worth following up. The post below is the result of this.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... an-railway" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Research suggests that there are two possible locations for these locos operations after leaving East Africa. The first, initially seeming the most likely, is the Burma-Yunnan Railway which was a British project. The second was a French project. We spend a little time focussing on each project before some final observations are made at the end of this post

johnthefireman
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by johnthefireman »

In Gari la Moshi: Steam Locomotives of the East African Railways, the author R Ramaer notes for nos 51 and 53 "1939 to CF de l'Indochine et du Yunnan (CIY) 205" and "206" respectively. No mention of 41-44. These are what EAR would later classify as Class 50 locomotives. 51's builder's number is listed as 6435 and 53's as 6437. When I check these builder's numbers in Beyer Peacock Locomotive Order List by Dr R L Hills, they are indeed part of a batch of 12 locos, 6429-6440, built in 1927 and '28, delivered to the Kenya Uganda Railway, but no further details. In Beyer Peacock's own 1947 publication Beyer-Garratt Articulated Locomotives the notes on this class on page 17 state, "in 1939 six Garratts of the earlier types were sold to the Chemins de Fer de l'Indochine et du Yunnan".

The excellent website The Garratt Locomotive lists 6429-6440 as being KUR nos 45-56, again missing out 41-44. This website has a photo of almost every Garratt ever produced, but strangely this class is missing.

Nothing else to add, I'm afraid.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Thank you John

I also raised this on another forum - National Preservation (https://www.national-preservation.com/t ... ys.1150502" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) - after a question on that forum - and there has been a bit of discussion ........... huochemi on that forum has two comments:

1. Thanks Roger. Unfortunately, although Charles Small in "Far Wheels" has a chapter on the KUR / EAR, he does not deal with these Garratts. The roster info is truncated as Small notes that this info was given in the Railway Magazine. He does not mention the date but it must have been prior to 1959, the date of his book. There is a distant shot of a Garratt in service on the Yunnan Railway in "Chemins de Fer de la France d'Outre-Mer" (p131). After Pearl Harbour, there was good reason for Britain to help out with motive power for the (essentially French) Yunnan Railway but in 1939 it does not seem so likely and indeed, according to Chang Kia-Ngau, Britain was still minded to take note of what the Japanese thought of potential unfriendly actions such as providing anything that might be construed as military aid to the Chinese. It could of course have simply been a meeting of minds i.e. France wanted some more motive power and the KUR was happy to sell. My first thought was that the locos may have been intended for the Burma-Yunnan Railway, in which British had a greater interest, and discussions were underway from 1938 on this. Only a portion of that line was built and it may be that the Garratts' use on the Yunnan Railway line was intended to be temporary (the only route in was via Vietnam and the Yunnan Railway), but in the event they remained there permanently.

2. Hi Roger, just to be clear, we know what happened to the Garratts. All six are shown on the 1948 roster for the Yunnan Railway, and five for the "1960s" (60 年代) (from Yunnan Province History - Railway History 云南省志 - 铁道志 published by the Yunnan People's Publishing House in 1994). My interest is how they came to be sold by the KUR to Yunnan. Incidentally, looking at your updated note, I cannot see anything in the ALCO Works List for 2-8-8-2s for Burma/China around 1941, and I wonder if it ever got as far as a firm order.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

This is the third post about Locomotives and Rolling Stock on the network of lines in Uganda and Kenya.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... 48-to-1977" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The network continued to make use of the best of the locomotives purchased by both the Uganda Railway and the Kenya Uganda Railways and Harbours Corporation. The EAR&H renumbered all of the older locomotives into a consistent numbering system. The first two digits of four referred to the class of locomotive and the second two digits to the number in the class. Before we move on to the new purchases, here are a few images of the older locomotives on the system, further information about these classes can be found in the previous posts in this series.
Very sadly, so very few of these locomotives have survived in any form, let alone in a condition to continue to run on the network.

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

Very sadly, so very few of these locomotives have survived in any form, let alone in a condition to continue to run on the network.
It's not sad at all. Steam locomotion was the main cause of the current climate catastrophe.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Hi George

You and I will probably need to disagree about this. Not that I'd argue against progress. Modern trains, using effective modern power sources are a good thing. (I'm not convinced however, that diesel power is significantly better for the environment than coal).

My feeling is that a few of these amazing locomotives still in steam, perhaps with one or two of those on East African metals would be a good thing. As I understand it, even the Garratt which was brought back into steam at the turn of the century now sits idle and cannot be steamed because parts have been removed.

Best wishes

Roger

johnthefireman
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by johnthefireman »

Roger, you'll find that George continually returns to this theme despite all our best efforts!

More correctly, the GMAM is out of action because of leaking superheater elements. A few minor parts have been removed since then (at least when I last inspected her 14 months ago it was only "few" and "minor"), but it was the elements which caused her to fail in service and they have not been repaired yet. She is not a priority for repair - 3020 and 2409 are more useful at the moment.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

The East African Railways and Harbours Corporation began to look at replacing its steam locomotives with more modern power units. This next post is part of that story.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... 48-to-1977" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It is impossible to exaggerate the tractive effort required from the motive power on the line through Kenya and Uganda. In the UK we make a great deal of fuss over the strain placed on standard-gauge locomotives on the West Coast Mainline. Shap, Beattock and Drumuachdar are significant climbs which taxed the most powerful of locomotives. The gradients and the heights which the East African lines surmounted dwarf that UK mainline. These feats of endurance and the relative power of the locomotives required to achieve them on narrow-gauge lines is astounding.
img_20180627_213806_115.jpg
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george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

Modern traction can manage these gradients much more easily than steam.

johnthefireman
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by johnthefireman »

george matthews wrote:Modern traction can manage these gradients much more easily than steam.
Well, yes. That's one of the reasons steam was replaced by modern traction. But it doesn't alter the impressive achievement of the Garratts in their day. I doubt if there are many (or any?) other railways in the world where thousand-ton trains were hauled by a single loco from 0 to 9,000 feet in a pretty continuous uphill gradient of over 500 kms.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by rogerfarnworth »

Two posts remain to complete the story of the line. This is the first of these. It brings the story of the line up to date (to 2018).

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... 77-to-2018" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In 1977 the East African Railways Corporation (EARC), formerly the East African Railways and Harbours Corporation (EAR&H) was broken up. The three countries which made up the East African Community were unable to agree about many things and it became necessary for them to go their own ways. Three railway companies were formed: Kenya Railways Corporation; Uganda Railways Corporation; and Tanzania Railways Corporation. In this post we will focus on the first two of these and on later arrangements with Rift Valley Railways which ended in 2017 when the two Corporations were reformed. At the end of the post, which is essentially about narrow-gauge railways we will highlight developments relating to the new standard-gauge lines which may well dominate the future in Kenya and Uganda.
Very sadly, at least from a heritage perspective, the metre-gauge line and its trains have largely been replaced between Nairobi and Mombasa. No doubt the new trains are infinitely better. But their advent has brought to an end the real sense of adventure that travelling the metre-gauge line from Mombasa to Nairobi evoked!

george matthews
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Re: Uganda Railways - Metre Gauge

Post by george matthews »

rogerfarnworth wrote:Two posts remain to complete the story of the line. This is the first of these. It brings the story of the line up to date (to 2018).

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... 77-to-2018" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In 1977 the East African Railways Corporation (EARC), formerly the East African Railways and Harbours Corporation (EAR&H) was broken up. The three countries which made up the East African Community were unable to agree about many things and it became necessary for them to go their own ways. Three railway companies were formed: Kenya Railways Corporation; Uganda Railways Corporation; and Tanzania Railways Corporation. In this post we will focus on the first two of these and on later arrangements with Rift Valley Railways which ended in 2017 when the two Corporations were reformed. At the end of the post, which is essentially about narrow-gauge railways we will highlight developments relating to the new standard-gauge lines which may well dominate the future in Kenya and Uganda.
Very sadly, at least from a heritage perspective, the metre-gauge line and its trains have largely been replaced between Nairobi and Mombasa. No doubt the new trains are infinitely better. But their advent has brought to an end the real sense of adventure that travelling the metre-gauge line from Mombasa to Nairobi evoked!
The much faster journeys between Nairobi and Mombasa will have many effects on the relations between the two cities. That is not sad at all. You can admire the narrow gauge as much as you like, but the purpose of railways is transport. Standard gauge is better at providing that service. 40 years ago all the colonial era narrow tracks were busy, mainly because they were a useful alternative to the very poor roads. All of them are now fading away because they cannot out compete road traffic. If the new line in Kenya has competent management it should greatly increase the amount of traffic by taking it off the road.

Do note how the narrow gauge systems have gone. Sierra Leone had 2'3". It's gone. I think the Ghana system is practically dead - though very useful in the past. 30 years ago when I was in Nigeria the Cape gauge was still functioning though not very reliably. They have built a Standard gauge line. I hope they will extend it.

And, please, no more steam. It pollutes the air and causes climate change.

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